Wednesday, 24 July 2013

12 Round Bales Of Barley ("I've not been eating the potatoes but the slugs are."

"Yea."  The silage contractor did arrive on Saturday and did manage too cut and harvest us twelve bales of barley. Since Monday it's been sunshine and some very heavy down pours.  The sunshine and rain should hopefully provide the right ingredients too make the other fields grow.  So the cattle will have lots too eat during the winter.

 Historians say it's the saving of hay that helped the Romans conquer the world.  Apparently they never visited Ireland ('Hibernia': "Land of eternal winters") but they knew of it.  Me not understand?  How can you know of somewhere if you have never visited it?  Mind you millions of people believe the Titanic was sank by an ice berg.  But nobody ever took a picture of it, did they?  There's also a theory that man never went too the moon.  It was just Hollywood movie sets.   I digress.  The saving of hay allowed the Romans to travel by horse even in winter when the grass didn't grow.

Any road.  We got twelve bales of barley and the barley growing experiment looks too have been a success.  The Fodder Kale is also doing very well.  I say lets get away from monoculture and grow something different on the land.

Lifted some potatoes the other day.  It's been far too hot to eat them lately.  Noticed some holes in some of them.  So we soaked them in a basin of water and waited to see what crawled out.  Black slugs are the culprits.  It doesn't matter what you grow.  There's some creature too destroy your crop or you.  The old 'Doctor Flies"have been taking chunks out of us all.  Think they are horse flies.  They call them "Doctor Flies" because they land on you and give you a painless injection.  Then your arm throbs with pain.  Good job we always keep a packet of Piriton tablets in the cupboard.  

Here's a photograph of the mower cutting the barley into windrows.  You can see the fodder kale growing too.  That's Bantry Bay in the background.  The old digital camera is still displaying the wrong date - sorry!

See you later.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

"Greedy" The Bull Calf's Winter Feed Is Almost Ready.


The latest pictures of 'Greedy' the 'Aberdeen Angus' bull calf and the barley we set in Spring.  The bull calf seems to grow some more every day.  Dairy cross cattle prices are still very poor and they are only making a Euro a Kilogram.  Apparently there is hardly any boats going to Libya.. at the moment.  All depressing news for the farmer.  At least we have the test cricket to watch.  Good old England.  It was wonderful to hear 'Jerusalem' being played.  Don't make me so nervous again this week please!

The sales rep from whom we bought the barley seed, came to inspect the it the other day.  He said the visit was completely FREE of charge, because we purchased the seed from his company.  We talked about weeds and how we should really have sprayed the ground with glyphosate first before seeding.  Any road there's a few weeds growing in the barley but we can live with that can't we?  

The sales rep informed us that the barley needs to be cut and baled this week into silage.  This puts the 'cat among the pigeons'.  Any body for an idiom?  The field needs cutting before the other silage is ready.  Such is life.  

We are having a five Euros wager apiece to guess how many bales we get from about an acre?  I have gone for 8 bales of barley and grass.  I feel like that old music hall joke:

A man is in a train carriage with a basket full of pigeons.  He says to the other passengers:

"If you can guess how many pigeons I have in this basket.  I'll give you the six of them."  

Well it made me laugh.  The first thousand times I heard it.  

So what do you reckon folks?  How many bales will we get when we cut it at the weekend?

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

"Is It Hot Or Is it Me?" Vintage Tractors, Bags Of Chips And Brass Bands In Clonakilty.

Hope you are enjoying the weather?  It's been brilliant here in Ireland.  Hay and silage making seems to be happening everywhere.

 I just can't get away from tractors at the moment.  Be it my 2 old ladies (Ford 3000 and Ford 4000) neighbours at silage (and slurry!) and even saw a few tractors when I went to Clonakilty on Saturday.  We walked into the town centre and there were old tractors, vintage cars, farm equipment and a traction engine parked in the cordoned off streets for pedestrians to look at all the old ladies of yesteryear's agriculture.

We found a great little chippy and I treated us all to bag of chips each (last of the big spenders) and we walked around the streets looking at the old tractors.  The sun was glorious and everybody seemed so happy.  Then to my amazement we passed brass bands playing in the Southwest  Of Ireland Brass bands finals.  It was like a scene from 'Brassed off' but with Irish accents.

All credit to the Clonakilty organizers of the vintage machinery displays and the brilliant brass bands.  You made my day!

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Our New Potatoes Drying In The Sun.

These beauties were unearthed on Monday morning.  All that rain early this year and lots of home made compost and fym from my bovine pals, gave us these fantastic 'Orla' spudatoes.  I always grow the 'Orla' because they originate in Scotland and are less prone to blight unlike the Irish potatoes.  They steam really well and don't go to mush like other varieties if you boil them.

This area is now planted up with swedes.  I usually harvest them when they are the size of a tennis ball.  The person who once said:

"small is beautiful."

Must have grown vegetables.  Also if you pick them when they are fresh and cook them straight away.  The sugars in the vegetable doesn't have enough time to turn to starches.

The cardboard (remove any sellotape) is used to make paths (lasagna gardening) and mulch the nettles.  They say:

"Where nettles grow, anything will grow."

I know they love nitrogen and my potatoes grow well next to them.  This vegetable plot never gets any chemicals applied to it.  Just good old homemade compost and farmyard manure.